The key difference between atrial fibrillation and ectopic beats is that atrial fibrillation is a condition of the heart characterized by an irregular rhythm with an abnormally fast heartbeat, while ectopic beats or ectopic heartbeats are extra or missed heartbeats before a regular beat.
Atrial fibrillation and ectopic beats are two conditions of the heart associated with irregular heartbeats. Both conditions may be asymptomatic and are not usually life-threatening. Atrial fibrillation is the irregular and often faster heart rate caused by the contraction of atria randomly and faster without coordination of the ventricles. This condition can lead to blood clots in the heart. It is associated with an increased risk of strokes and heart failure. Ectopic beats or ectopic heartbeats are extra or skipped heartbeats that occur before a regular beat. Ectopic beats are generally normal and nothing to worry about.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Atrial Fibrillation
3. What is Ectopic Beats
4. Similarity – Atrial Fibrillation and Ectopic Beats
5. Atrial Fibrillation vs Ectopic Beats in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Atrial Fibrillation vs Ectopic Beats
What is Atrial Fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation is a type of irregular heart rhythm due to the atria receiving disorganized or abnormal electrical signals/impulses. Generally, in atrial fibrillation, electrical signals happen abnormally fast. As a result, the atria beat without the coordination with ventricles of the heart. Atria contract randomly and faster. Heart muscles fail to relax properly. In the end, it leads to a rapid and irregular heartbeat. Beats per minute in atrial fibrillation goes in a range from 100 to 175, which is higher than the normal bpm of 60 to 100.
Atrial fibrillation occurs due to different reasons, including previous heart attacks, heart failure, high blood pressure, abnormal heart valves, birth defects, diabetes, alcohol and drug use. Older people and people with chronic conditions show a higher tendency to atrial fibrillation. There are several types of symptoms associated with atrial fibrillation. They are shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, and tiredness. Sometimes, atrial fibrillation does not show any symptoms, making the person unaware of the condition. Patients with atrial fibrillation carry an increased risk of strokes. Atrial fibrillation can cause blood clots development in the heart. Therefore, it is necessary to get diagnosed and undergo proper treatments for atrial fibrillation. Smoking and drinking alcohol can trigger atrial fibrillation.
What are Ectopic Beats?
Ectopic beats or ectopic heartbeats are extra heartbeats that occur before a regular beat. People experience an extra beat or the heart skips a beat. ‘Premature heartbeats’ is a synonym of ectopic beats. They are normal and common. Hence, it is not a serious problem to worry about. There are two types of ectopic beats originating from atria (premature atrial contractions) and ventricles (premature ventricular contractions). Anxiety is one of the major reasons for ectopic beats. Smoking, caffeinated drinks, stress, alcohol, exercise, allergy, and asthma medicines are some other reasons for ectopic beats.
Generally, ectopic beats occur without giving symptoms. However, some may experience dizziness, a feeling of an extra beat, a racing heartbeat, and a fluttering sensation in the chest. Electrocardiogram (ECG), echocardiogram, heart x-ray, MRI, CT scan, and exercise testing are several diagnostic methods of ectopic beats. Generally, doctors do not prescribe medicines for ectopic beats since symptoms fade away with time. People can change their lifestyles to avoid anxiety and stress. They can also quit smoking and alcohol. Moreover, if addicted to caffeinated drinks and food, they can stop their consumption. Most importantly, they can engage in regular exercise.
What are the Similarities Between Atrial Fibrillation and Ectopic Beats?
- Atrial fibrillation and ectopic beats are two heart conditions that show irregular heartbeats.
- They are not usually life-threatening conditions.
- People who have atrial fibrillation and ectopic beats may not show any symptoms.
- Dizziness or fainting, chest pain, and racing heart are some of the common symptoms for both conditions.
- Lifestyle changes may help to prevent atrial fibrillation and ectopic beats.
- Both conditions can be triggered by the consumption of alcohol and smoking.
What is the Difference Between Atrial Fibrillation and Ectopic Beats?
Atrial fibrillation is an irregular and often abnormally faster heart rate caused due to random contractions of atria while ectopic beats or ectopic heartbeats are extra heartbeats that occur before a regular beat. So, this is the key difference between atrial fibrillation and ectopic beats. Atrial fibrillation can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications, unlike ectopic beats.
The following table summarizes the difference between atrial fibrillation and ectopic beats.
Summary – Atrial Fibrillation vs Ectopic Beats
Atrial fibrillation is the condition of the heart with an irregular heartbeat and often faster heart rate. It can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related complications. Ectopic beats are extra or skipped heartbeats that occur before a regular beat. It is usually a normal condition that fades away with time. Thus, this is the summary of the difference between atrial fibrillation and ectopic beats.
1. “Ectopic Heartbeat: Causes, Treatment, and Risks.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International.
2. “Atrial Fibrillation.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27 Sept. 2021.